Tony Kröger Goes Home

 

Tony Kröger arrived home one day and found librarians sleeping in his bedroom. He went to the kitchen and talked to the maid. She was on a stew about all the smoking in the house.

“Lord, I tell you, these people. I serve them coffee, and all they do is puff on their cigarettes and their cigars and their pipes. The smoke in there is so thick I can’t see where to put the tray. I bring the coffee on a tray, you see. A tray with everything they need. I have the coffee in a pot, four cups, a pitcher of cream and a cup of sugar. Fine white sugar, like gentle folk use. Then there is a spoon for dipping up the sugar and four little spoons for stirring. And I have napkins they can put in their lap so they don’t soil their new clothes.

Even the youngest one, he is only fourteen, is learning to smoke those cigarettes. Don’t they know those things will make you sick? They act like if they don’t have a cloud of smoke around them, people will recognize them for the thieves they are. They think it looks cool, but I think it looks stupid.

The doctor has an office downtown. I don’t ever go there. They say he has a good practice, makes a lot of money. Seems like he is pretty sharp. So why doesn’t he know all that smoke in your lungs will kill you. I guess everybody has these blind spots, things that they conveniently overlook.

I don’t see how they can live with all that smoke. It makes everything smell bad. All the furniture in the living room. Stinks! And their clothes. I’m glad I’m a cook and don’t have to wash their clothes. I would have to wear a clothes pin on my nose if I had to wash those clothes. My clothes smell bad enough since I have to bring the coffee into that room. But they are in there all day, puffing on those cigars and such. Whew! It’s enough to make you sick to think about it.”

Tony went upstairs to his bedroom and got into bed with one of the librarians. The feeling of creation that so often comes with leaving the house, is invariably lost on returning.

Alternate Ending: Tony went upstairs to his bedroom and got into bed with one of the librarians. Afterwards he wanted to smoke a cigarette. “Oh, no,” she said, “We don’t allow smoking in the library.”

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